3 Incredible Places in Bolivia that you may never heard of before
Home of the Yungas Road — El Camino de Muerte, the World's Most Dangerous Road, leading through dramatic high altitude cliffside jungle terrain in the Yungas region from La Paz to Coroico
The Yungas region in Bolivia, is a kind of paradise on earth that is very hard to leave. As one comes down from the highlands to the Yungas, the rocky landscape gives way to colorful flora, to new smells and waterfalls that seem to fall from the sky. Further on, the vegetation thickens, until it becomes virgin rainforest. The valley soil is very fertile and abundant. Generous crops of fruit and vegetables, which supply the cities of the highland region, are cultivated here. Melons, mangos, papayas, bananas, and coffee are in abundance, among of the parrots and monkeys. And the Coca, of course, a traditional part of this culture. The Yungas offer many possibilities: 4WD discovery trips, hiking, unprecedented mountain bike crossings, white water rafting, or simply lazing around at great heights. For more information about a trip visit the site of bolivia-travels.
Quime is a small city in Yungas. Quime is the center for climbing and exploration of the Cordillera de Quimsa Cruz. Three agencies in la Paz offer trips to the Cordillera.It is an area with little tourism of any kind and perfect for romantic couples and adventure tourists. You won't find Quime in any tour guide books
The name Quime comes from the Quechua word for "Place to Rest" and was a tradional stopping point for mules carrying coca and gold out, and food supplies in. One old resident remembers his grandfather bringing a gran piano in pieces via mule train. For the past 100 years it has been a commercial center for the numerous tin, zinc, wolfram, silver and gold mines which often cling to sheer cliffs.
The views, some over about 50 miles of Andean mountains and valleys, are spectacular from the upper edge of town or the surrounding mountainsides. Nearby are Elfin Cloud Forests laden with mosses, lichens, ferns and bromeliads. A number of rare birds inhabit the area, including the endemic Rufous-breasted Grosbeak. The reclusive and endangered Spectacled Bear lives in a refuge nearby but is seldom seen. Ornithologists and botanists continue to discover new bird and plant species in the area.
The most popular day hike is to the primitive tungsten mine, Chambillaya. It is not a tour and here is how it works: From the Hostal Colibri walk three blocks east to the bridge at 5:30 AM and catch the mining truck for 5 bolivianos to the mine. You will be riding with the miners and it is highly suggested that you bring a half pound of coca leaf to share with them. About an hour up the mountain you get to the abandoned Chambillaya mining town, now in ruins but with some pretty interesting artifacts laying about. The mine is another thousend feet up the mountain. If you have made friends with the miners, actually quite easy sharing coca, they will take you on a tour of the mine for free. In any event, so far they have been very friendly about showing off their work. Some tourists have continued up to one of the nearby summits to watch condors. From the mine its an easy hour or so hike back to the hostal.
Madidi National Park
Madidi is a fantastic national park in the upper Amazon river basin in Bolivia. Established in 1995, it has an area of 18,958 square kilometres, and along with nearby protected areas Manuripi-Heath, Apolobamba, and (across the border in Peru) the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Madidi is part of one of the largest protected areas in the world.
From snow-capped peaks in the Apolobamba range of the Andes to tropical lowland basins in the Amazon. The landscape includes an incredible range of ecosystems, from high altitude grasslands to clouds forests, lowland tropical forests to pristine lowland savannas. Madidi is part of a vast wilderness that includes neighboring protected areas in Bolivia and southeastern Peru.
Madidi is one of the most biologically diverse protected areas on the planet. The park is home to over 1,000 bird species, representing a whopping 11% of the world’s 9,000 bird species. Madidi contains large populations of Latin America’s most charismatic wildlife species: jaguar, spectacled bear, maned wolf, vicuña, giant otter, Andean condor and military macaw, among others. The newly discovered monkey species lives in Madidi and nowhere else.
Some eco-lodges are found in and around the Madidi National Park. The oldest and best known is Chalalan Ecolodge in Chalalán on the Tuichi River, a successful community-based enterprise that generates significant economic benefits to indigenous communities (Malky et al., 2007). Another important site is the Serere Sanctuary operated by Madidi Travel; a 4000 hectare private reserve dedicated to generating income through tourism for on-going conservation work to establish new legally protected zones in the north of the Madidi Mosaic. Others include San Miguel del Bala Eco-Lodge on the banks of the Beni River reached by boat 40 minutes up stream from Rurrenabaque, and the young Entno Ecolodge - Mashaquipe on the Tuichi River close to the outlet into the Beni River.
Huayna Potosi is a mountain and National Park located about 30 km north of La Paz and the mountain reaches 6088 metres above sea level. About 1000 climbers make it to the summit every year, and it is said to be an "easy" peak. Base Camp and the obvious entry point for treks in the park is at Zongo Pass 4700 m, on the way to Zongo. Rock Camp at 5130 m offers great views and is the place from where climbers make their ascent of the peak.
Snow covered "nevados" contrast a crisp blue sky in front of the sea of clouds hiding The Yungas in the east, while the the outskirts of El Alto on the Altiplano stretches towards Chile to the west. Glaciers has made the ground on the mountains rocky and the beautifully green dammed lakes in the Zongo Valley adds color to the landscape.
Domestic llamas, sheep and alpacas digest what little plants survives at this altitude. Birds in all sizes are abundant and condors make spectacular moves in the wind. A surprising colony of mice thrive among the rocks in Rock Camp.